The Caps were good value for their 1-0 win over Portland and the only real disappointment will be that they were unable to put multiple goals past Aljak Ivacic. Nonetheless, it was another commanding performance from Vancouver and one that lended itself to some solid report card marks. Let’s dive in:
Yohei Takaoka: 6.5
Had quite literally nothing to do, aside from some fairly straightforward crosses to claim. This artificially depresses his rating but he won’t complain about a second straight MLS clean sheat.
Mathias Laborda: 7.5
Getting forward offensively has not been a strength for the Uruguayan so far this season but he had two gilded edge chances to put the Caps up 1-0 in the first half but couldn’t quite connect. When you want a cross whipped in, you’re gonna go to Luis Martins but make no mistake, this was an immense defensive performance, as Laborda had the right side locked down. His best showing yet as a Whitecaps player.
Ranko Veselinovic: 7
The centerbacks equally had a quiet night but this was in part due to Ranko and Blackmon swarming whatever rare foray the Timbers made into the Caps box. Was the smoother passer of the two CBs and it also surely is the first in his career that Ranko had two goals disallowed in the same match.
Tristan Blackmon: 7
Blackmon’s five clearances were a nice touch and his ball control and progression (including a rare foray into the attacking third, albeit one that earned him a yellow once he lost possession) were what the Caps were presumably imagining when they bought him. Good stuff from the CB pairing.
Luis Martins: 6.5
Martins had a couple defensive miscues but tracked back much better against a less dynamic Timbers side. An adequate performance helped by some nice forays forward.
Andres Cubas: 6
The first half hour or so of Cubas was typically stout but he came out the loser of all shoulder to shoulder collision with Juan Mosquera and departed the match midway through the first half. Caps fans will be holding their breath for a speedy recovery.
Ali Ahmed: 6.5
The dynamism of Ahmed continues to dazzle, with a few scintillating scampers through the Timbers midfield. He asks questions of opponents in a way no other Caps player does, and while he had his fair share of loose touches, Ahmed’s game thrives on charging at opponents and creating chaos, something he did well. He looked good when he flared out wide to give Gauld space in the middle of the park.
Julian Gressel: 8
Gressel remains the beating heart of the Caps’ offense and he was denied a goal only because of the brilliance of Ivacic. He will take his assist as a worthy consolation prize and it ironically came off a well-drilled cross alone the ground, when it was his aerial through balls that sparkled the brightest on Saturday. Excellent performances from Gressel have become almost expected and this wasn’t an exception.
Pedro Vite: 7.5
As the team’s attacking band has found its feet, Vite has gotten a bit lost in the shuffle, unfairly. He had a couple nice chances in the first half and helped create several more in the second. Tracks back nicely in support of Ali Ahmed and he remains a clear choice to start alongside the youngster moving forward.
Ryan Gauld: 7.5
His influence early was slight, as he was pushed wider than usual by Portland’s tactics and had a harder time working his way into the match. He was much more of a presence in the second 45 minutes and was an absolute bully to win the ball and maintain it. If there was ever a time when someone had a sneaky four key passes, this was it.
Simon Becher: 5.5
You aren’t going to get three goal involvements in every match and this was altogether a more frustrating one for the youngster. Didn’t see a ton of the ball, though his pressure helped keep Portland pinned back deeper. His chemistry with Gauld will hopefully grow.
Sebastian Berhalter: 8
The departure of Cubas meant two things: Everyone’s hearts were in their throats at the lost of the key midfield cog and that Berhalter got to play in his natural, deeper lying role. Fans needn’t have worried: Berhalter showed no drop off in performance and was quite effective at pinging in passes while sitting deeper. His defensive work rate was even more important. A performance that Berhalter has been building towards all season.
Brian White: 7
Didn’t do much to grab the goal but it was nice awareness to put himself in such an advantageous position and the mark of a nice cameo from White.
Deiber Caicedo: N/A
Should have buried the match deep into stoppage time, finding him 1v1 but joined the list of Caps’ players denied by Ivacic. Hopefully the chances will start coming as Caicedo works his way back from injury.
Cristian Dajome: N/A
Had a nice moment of pressure to win a foul to help kill off the game but not much of note for Dajome late.
Javain Brown: N/A
Very little to do for Brown, who came on to lock down the defense in the stead of Martins for the final 10 minutes. Did win a key foul for the Caps in the dying minutes of the match.
(Image Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps)